Gotham City suddenly looks a lot like New York.
At “Batman” which hits theaters today, citizens attend a political rally in Gotham Square Garden and the Gotham Gazette has been redesigned to mimic your morning New York Post. Thank you Warner Bros. Looking forward to our share of the box office.
That’s all sweet enough. We can’t keep Chicago in the spotlight. The strongest – and most depressing – resemblance, however, is in Gotham’s spate of well-known crimes.
In an early scene of the dark film, a gang with painted faces surround an Asian man on a subway platform, ready to beat him up for no apparent reason. Then Batman intervenes. Such a moment would have been easier to bear in 2012, when we were all trying to get into Soho House with Magnolia cupcakes in our beach tote bags. When on-screen urban violence felt like a different world. When New York was the safest city in America.
No longer. Today, such horrible acts appear on the evening news almost every night. Subway Attacks Violent crimes against Asian New Yorkers have become an unbearably integral part of city life in the past year. It’s terrifying and scary.
A reminiscence of the bad old days of the 1970s, when people today are so afraid of taking the train that platform closures have long been avoided will be installed in the Times Square station on the 7-line to prevent pointless shoving. Meanwhile, Mayor Eric Adams has put more cops into the MTA and made an effort to do so remove homeless squatters from the vast transit system.
Fine. But I don’t want to think about all of that during a movie about a billionaire who wears a form fitting bat suit and has a British butler named Alfred.
And yet so much of The Batman could have been told by news anchor Pat Kiernan. The characters nervously look over their shoulders on New York City streets at night, afraid of being attacked, as everyone here is doing now. Gotham gang members graffiti private property. (This nonsense returned to town in the summer of 2020 and is still happening. My apartment building was tagged two weeks ago.) There are shootings at an average looking nightclub run by the Penguin, like the one that happened on Flatbush Avenue Last month.
Many critics, myself included called this the darkest Batman movie of all time – even more so than “The Dark Knight” who reformulated the Joker as a domestic terrorist. In this black hole of misery, why does Hollywood have to continue?
The critical and commercial success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which earned Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar in 2009, and Joaquin Phoenix’s win for Best Actor for 2019’s Joker, have led filmmakers to believe that these superhero films are just as important are like politics and legislation. They think, “Who needs documentaries and reports on local crime and social inequalities when I’m making a feature film with a puzzling villain?”
They see escapism as plebeian and immature. They believe what the audience wants is less important than their own ego.
Sorry guys – it’s been proven that audiences want fun. “Spider-Man: No Way Home“, which hits about as hard as a Nerf gun and doesn’t last for three hours like “The Batman”, has earned $1.85 billion worldwide during a pandemic. Of course it has! The film dares to make viewers feel good.
Walking around the city at night has been nerve-wracking lately. When I get to the cinema at 8 p.m. and take a seat, I want what’s on the screen to help me forget what’s happening right outside the door, because there’s no masked billionaire watching us protected.
Mike Bloomberg doesn’t have the upper body strength.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/03/the-batman-made-me-feel-miserable-about-living-in-nyc/ The Batman made me unhappy living in NYC